By Festus Adedayo
April 28 was a particularly bad day for the Adesida royal dynasty of Akure. That day, their son, Anthony Adesoji Adesida, a.k.a. Stag, was killed during a brawl in the state capital. A prince and pastor, he had sought armistice between two feuding personalities at the venue of a party. One of them, consumed by deadly anger, had shoved him off violently. Stag hit his avuncular head on the naked, coarse floor. As his head made a jangling crack on the irreverent concrete cement floor, little did aghast onlookers know that the amiable, personable, and affectionate Adesida had just a few minutes left to keep a reunion appointment with his creator. He was 65 years old.
Soji Adesida is dead. The news reverberated around the ancient city of his birth, Akure and Ibadan, where he nested as a place of domicile and work for decades of his life. In those decades, he cultivated a commune of friends who, today, are still mourning his departure. He sowed imperishable seeds of affection in their lives.
Adesida’s Akureness was what I first encountered. He had been told of his Akure brother who was in a seeming adulterous liaison with the pen and was causing some uproar in the public sphere, he told me. So, when we met, Adesida was all over me. His dotting brotherhood reminded me of Baba Saliu. In a panegyric for this friend of his, my musical god, Ayinla Omowura, had lauded Saliu’s father who he said, whenever he saw him, it was a case of a human being intoxicating the other like the searing laceration that liquor gives the stomach – bi Baba Saliu ba ti ri wa, eniyan pa ni, o j’oti…
Each time Stag read my piece, he proudly and exhilaratingly announced that his Akure brother had penned “the wonder”. In a piece I did last year on Polaris Bank, he tackled a staff of the bank who had a dissenting opinion from mine. He eventually linked her up with me so that I could impugn her stand. Such was the texture Stag was made of. You could imagine how downcast I was to be told that such a wonderful brother had been killed.
This Friday, Akure will stand still for one of its own as Stag is lifted down the vault of a rude earth that would be unconscionable enough to demand to swallow the remains of such an affable man. We will however erect a cenotaph for this great Akure son in our hearts. On it, we will engrave this epitaph: Here lies a man who lived and died Akure.
Rest in peace, brother.